Saturday, October 22, 2016

Election Thoughts

We are likely past the point of persuasion for anyone, so I feel free to make observations while it is still fresh.

I will be voting for Evan McMullin. You can spare me the observation that I am voting for Hillary/Trump by not voting for Trump/Hillary.  I already covered two weeks ago that my individual vote has no effect. If NH comes down to a few votes - mine plus the 100 people I have 5% effect on - you can chastise me then.  Except there would be a recount, which would change things one way or the other.  It is not the vote itself but all the imperceptible influences we have on our friends and acquaintances in the runup.  Those influences must be anchored in a legit secret ballot, else we have 99% votes for a dictator, because people do not dare go outside the lines even in private.  But mostly, it is a measuring stick for ourselves.  Why does this outrage me and not that? Am I swayed by seeming and feeling? James rightly noted that a personal examen of decades is a bit steep, but you can practice a bit here.

I have waited twenty-five years for Clinton dishonesty and accompanying media sycophancy to be finally exposed*, and this is the hour, but I cannot participate. Luther said he would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian, which I guess can be stretched to cover wise rulers of low character, but I don't see the "wise ruler" part in Trump. In my Jesus Freak days there was a festival in Washington that some of my friends went to. The theme from Scripture was 2Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. I didn't agree with the interpretation that any nation could just automatically claim this promise made to Israel, but I noticed tonight something quite special about this.  The intent was that we Christians were supposed to pray, and live justly, and God would take care of the rest. I don't hear that now, except in quiet corners.

As to media, I read that Chris Wallace was fair as a moderator, and Jake Tapper is an honest man.  I also note that it is primarily the national media that shows up badly in the favoritism of Democrats in general but very specifically of Hillary Clinton. The city and regional media lean left, but not as much, and I am hopeful this will be a wakeup call that there are acts of prostitution, not romance, lying ahead of them.  Some will, some won't I suppose. It is disappointing that the same people who believe that implicit racism is responsible for all manner of ills regard implicit media bias as having negligible effect. Subtext, word choice, framing, facial expressions, and tone either matter or they don't.  They can't have a huge effect in one place and no effect in the other.  Escaping to institutional doesn't change that either, because the media outlets in question are very much long-standing institutions.

I am quoting Wikileaks, because I believe the information is true.  We should be cautious in what conclusions we draw, however.  The information released is true, but selected. There may be other bits that would swing us a different way, were they made available.  If some new emails came out that either made Hillary look better or Trump worse, there would of course be an annoying hypocritical flip-flop, but that aspect should be disregarded. And because no one can be unrelentingly evil, I imagine there are some benign things out there. So regard this as a palantir, that can show true things, but can still be bent to evil purpose. As for the idea that we shouldn't allow foreigners to try and influence our election, I think that's not clear-thinking.  I don't see a sharp line between Europeans reporting things - sometimes bad things that we have done - around the world that the American papers won't, in an effort to break through to influence our voters, and Wikileaks. Obama not knowing which countries his contributions came from is worse. Democrats are objecting to this theft because Hillary left the keys in the ignition.

BTW, because Wikileaks is calculated in its timing, there is likely something left to know.

We vote myths, and I think Trump's appeal is that of Samson. (What's Hillary?  Fairy Godmother?  I think that's how her supporters see her.)  Well, yes, Samson was used of God, but there are reasons mothers don't name their sons after him.

"Rigged" is a big word.  Trump is using it, and a few are following, but it's crazy.  However, shading an election, putting a thumb on the scale, is not crazy. People try to do it all the time, and sometimes they succeed. (My irony of this week is the psychiatrist who assured me about five years ago that "Jeb was never going to allow his brother to lose Florida" is complaining now that the Republicans are wild conspiracists for suggesting the election could be rigged.) You can slash the tires of the vans that are giving rides to the polls. You can be Mayor Daley and bring the dead to life, just for the day. I don't know that there are recent elections where we think that moved the dial more than 1% in a state, or even 5% in a precinct. Except Atlanta.  I understand Atlanta is lots of paid votes for mayor, or was.

*And as I should have guessed, they are even worse than the right-wing crazies predicted.


Sam L. said...

*And as I should have guessed, they are even worse than the right-wing crazies predicted.

Yes, you should have. I'm guessing you did not pay enough attention to Hillary.

james said...

Does my vote mean "This person is the one I want for office" or "I think the overall outcome will be better if this person is in office?"

Is Trump a Duzong or a Chaos Monkey?

When you wrote of the crazies, I immediately thought of the folks who were circulating the corpse list associated with Bill years and years ago. That seemed pretty over-the-top to me: the risks from exposure would be gigantic, and it doesn't seem altogether trivial to make a murder seem like a suicide or an accident. I still think that.

But I'm not sure it will stay that ridiculous forever. Jesse Jackson could get a mob together that had no direct ties to him, just by hinting. IIRC the Starr report recorded several people smoothly shifting safely away from DC to some other job, with no known explicit quid pro quo. There probably didn't have to be; favors would be repaid one way or another. When there are big pots of money at stake, there would seem to be a market opportunity in creating an enforcement group that has an "air gap" between themselves and their "patrons," and which gets its commission paid via 3'rd or 4'th parties.

jaed said...

I don't see Trump as Samson. He's not going to bring it all down. He's running for office in more or less conventional fashion, and everything he's talked about doing—renegotiating treaties, proposing legislation, countermanding executive orders—is a use of the existing powers of the Presidency. He's not talking like a dictator.

His supporters aren't as polite and diffident as the Tea Party, but then, people have been sending increasingly strong signals to the political class that they are uncomfortable with the direction and pace of changes that are being imposed on their country, and the political class has responded to each pushback by doubling down, rhetorically and otherwise. If they won't pay attention to the Tea Parties, maybe they'll pay attention to Trump. If they won't pay attention to Trump, another escalation will be along, because clearly one is needed. What comes after Trump will be worse.

No, the next iteration, or the one after that, or the one after that is Samson, the one that comes along when ordinary people are driven not just to protest but to desperation. I've made this analogy elsewhere: We're driving down an Interstate whose terminus is called "Revolution". We've passed several exits in the last decade or so, but none of them looked all that great, and the driver just kept going. Now there's a sign: "Exit: Trump, 16 Days". This one looks less appetizing than the previous one...

...but does that little sign below it say "Last Exit Before End"? It's hard to read at this distance, but it's not something you'd want to miss. And if we stay on the same road and keep passing up exits, we will get to the end point sooner or later.

RichardJohnson said...

The city and regional media lean left, but not as much, and I am hopeful this will be a wakeup call that there are acts of prostitution, not romance, lying ahead of them.

I very much doubt that they will have a wakeup call.

I gradually shifted from Demo to Republican. I first voted Third Party in 1980, and did so through 2000, with the exception of 1988. I voted for Bush in 1988 because I could not accept so many prominent Democrats kissing up to the Sandinistas. The Sandinistas endorsed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They jailed a Pole when he entered Nicaragua on a valid visa- on suspicion of belonging to Solidarity. Founding father Carlos Fonseca endorsed the 1956 Soviet crushing of the Hungarian Revolution. That didn't matter to the likes of John Kerry,Michael Dukakis, or Bernie Sanders, but it mattered to me.

When all but 5 Democrat Senators voted against Gulf War I in 1991, I decided that I would never again vote for a Democrat for President. Democrats turned a serious issue into a domestic political game.

I resumed voting Third Party through 2000. I was fed up with Democrat shenanigans on the Florida recount. In counties where Democrats designed the ballots, Democrats suddenly decided the ballot design was bad, resulting in too many rejected ballots. The rejected ballots had to be "reinterpreted." For the Democrats of course. After that I decided that I would vote the way that would give the Democrats the greatest possibility to lose- which generally means to vote Republican.

Maybe my vote won't count, but I could not live with myself not having voted in a way that gave maximum harm to the Democrats.

Grim said...

I think Hillary's opponents and supporters both see her as Medusa. They just differ over whether Medusa was treated fairly, and therefore whether she is a heroine or a monster.

herfsi said...

even as an ex-mormon (exTBM - true believing mormon!:), i held my nose & voted mitt romney in 2012. i'll never vote for him again, nor will i vote for a TBM again - nothing against you (!) that's just me having been hoodwinked by that faith - "knowing" it was true only to find out years later it's not - not sure that kind of belief is noble - made life happier & more livable, but seems false now. sorry, that's my own sour grapes on that issue:) hence, no mcmullen for me, but rather trump or johnson:)

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I've been a Congregationalist, a Lutheran, and a Covenanter, and am able to hold each of those neutral in voting. Yet I can see that being a Mormon, or some of the other more distinctive denominations, would hold greater weight, and thus greater aversion later. Mormonism is also a culture, I suppose.